Is “X” where the treasure is hidden or is there more to be found?
Annalisse Crosswell, Associate News Editor
Inclusivity is probably the most talked about social topic today, particularly in Vancouver where the LGBTQ+ community is so prominent. As of Nov. 1 the provincial government is doing its part to ensure that those who do not fit into binary gender designations are accommodated, with the implementation of ‘X’ genders on BC IDs. This follows the federal decision to allow ‘X’ genders on Canadian passports as of Aug. 31, 2017. While this is a victory that relieves day-to-day stress and anxiety for many individuals, it still may not be enough.
Although it may seem to be only a minor inconvenience to those of us that don’t deal with gender identity issues on a daily basis, this can pose a very real problem for the wellbeing of individuals in the trans community who struggle to be recognized by their preferred gender. It shouldn’t be a complicated issue to wrap your head around, but it turns out being recognized for who you are actually has some positive impacts.
Trans Care BC Project Manager Gwen Haworth commented on the topic in the government’s press release, “As a trans individual, I know from personal experience that having identification that reflects who I am positively affects my access to education, employment, housing, health care and much more.”
One concern about the change is that while it is an act of inclusivity it does come with a price tag. The process of changing your BC ID requires a request for a new birth certificate, which costs $27. Not an excessive fee, but still limiting to some. A confirmation from a physician or psychologist is also required to file the paperwork for the change, which adds another layer to the associated costs.
It was also announced Nov. 16 that 2019 will see publicly funded access to gender-affirming lower body surgeries in BC, making the small step towards inclusivity that is ‘X’ genders on ID’s seem to be just that. In following this legislative change with changes to healthcare access, the province has shown how serious it is about making life easier for transgender individuals. Given how common it is to see policies that claim to be moving towards bigger solutions turning out to be nothing more than placations, this change will be reassuring for many individuals who struggle with the social ramifications of not fitting into society’s preconceived notions of gender.
It is clear that this is, at the very least, a positive development for the LGBTQ+ community. Unfortunately though, other parts of the country seem to be moving backwards. The Ontario PC Party recently brought forward a resolution for debate saying that the theory of gender identity is “A highly controversial, unscientific ‘liberal ideology’; and, as such, that an Ontario PC Government will remove the teaching and promotion of ‘gender identity theory’ from Ontario schools and its curriculum.”
This is not an official stance of the government as of yet, though the initial Global News report led the public to believe that this was a policy that had been passed already. Be it official or not, it says a lot about what the Ontario government feels on the topic, which sadly doesn’t come as much of a surprise after the recent slew of detrimental social and education policies in the province.
It may not be the answer to all gender identity related woes, but, given the other policies that are being put forth, it seems our government may genuinely want to make things less complicated for individuals that struggle for recognition. At the end of the day if this isn’t enough, we can at least be grateful we don’t live in Ontario.